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Causes and Signs of Serious Infections

Serious Infection: Causes, Symptoms, Emergency Room Treatment

Serious infections can cause extreme discomfort and severe health complications. In some cases, these infections can lead to permanent damage or death if they are not treated. There are several types of serious infections and their treatment will depend on the cause of the infection.

Causes of Serious Infection

A serious infection can result from many medical conditions. Typically, a serious infection means it’s time to visit our closest emergency room.

ER of Texas Emergency Center has top-rated emergency room locations across the DFW area, including Highland Village, Little Elm, Frisco, Hurst, Colleyville, Texoma, Hillcrest, Uptown, Mansfield and surrounding communities. Our ERs are open 24/7 and our doctors are board-certified.

Serious infections are caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi and can lead to serious medical situations unless treated. Below are a few infections that may require a visit to the emergency room.

Signs of Serious Infections

The following are signs you have a serious infection:

See also: Flu Symptoms vs COVID-19 Symptoms

There are many more signs of serious infections. We cannot exhaust them all. The ones listed above, however, are the most common. You should seek emergency care whenever you experience these symptoms.

Examples of Serious Infections

Just like the symptoms, there are many examples of serious infections. These include:

Ear Infections

An ear infection is a result of the middle ear getting infected by a bacteria or virus. The infection may cause pain and swelling. If not promptly dealt with, an ear infection can cause permanent loss of hearing. Mild infections do not require treatment. However, if you have a serious infection, your doctor may use antibiotics to treat the condition.

Yeast Infection

This infection arises due to excess yeast in the vagina. It may be a result of certain medications or diseases. Over-the-counter medicine and antibiotics can be used to treat yeast infection.


Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body releases a large amount of chemicals to fight an infection that has spread through the bloodstream. These chemicals can lead to inflammation which can cause organ damage.

Bacterial infections are the usual cause of sepsis. However, minor injuries may also cause the condition. Patients with this infection experience rapid breathing, fever, a decrease in urination and chills as symptoms. Antibiotics and IV fluids can treat the infection.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

UTIs are caused by bacteria going through the urethra into the tract. There are different types. Common signs include rectal pain, frequent urination, cloudy urine and a burning sensation when urinating. Antibiotics are used for treatment.


This infection is usually viral. The virus hinders the sinus cavity from draining correctly. A recent study, however, has proved bacteria or foreign agents can also cause the infection. Antibiotics are used to treat this infection if it persists. For chronic sinusitis, surgery may be necessary.

Staph Infections

Staphylococcus bacteria can be life-threatening if they enter the bloodstream or lungs. A staph infection can cause impetigo, boils, food poisoning and cellulitis. It can be deadly if it is left untreated.

Since staph infections are caused by bacteria, they are treated with antibiotics. However, some strains of staphylococcus bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics.

How to Avoid Serious Infections

In the end, it is safer and cheaper to prevent a serious infection than to treat one. The following are ways you can avoid contracting serious infections:

  • Maintain proper hygiene. Regularly wash your hands with soap and running water. Especially before taking meals. Wash fruits and other food substances before ingesting them.
  • Avoid exposing wounds to contaminated surfaces. Constantly clean your wound and avoid scratching or touching the area with dirty hands. For bandages, regularly change them as per your doctor’s instructions.
  • Ensure your skin is always moisturized. Dry skin permits infectious microorganisms like bacteria to enter your body through the cracks.
  • Engage in safe sex. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can be prevented by using a condom during sex. Additionally, you are advised to make regular visits to your doctor for STI screenings.
  • Don’t consume raw or undercooked foods since they may cause food poisoning.
  • Get vaccinated to avoid bacterial infections like tetanus.
  • Use antibiotic ointments like Neosporin on wounds to keep out bacteria.
  • Do not share sensitive and personal items like needles and a toothbrush.

When to Seek Emergency Room Treatment for Serious Infection

If your infection is not responding to treatment at home or does not seem to be getting better, you should visit one of ER of Texas Emergency Center’s emergency rooms. Specifically, be on the lookout for these symptoms:

If you are suffering from a severe infection, please visit an emergency room closest to you immediately. We are available 24/7 to treat your severe infection and alleviate your discomfort. Schedule an emergency room appointment with us.